We went on a short 3 night Bahamas cruise on the Independence of the seas in December 2012. Apparently it was the ships first cruise in the US in 4 years. Previously it was in the UK.
The food in the windjammer was nothing to rave about and it was very difficult finding a place to eat, especially during lunch. We have been on the Freedom class before and didn't find this to be an issue. The internet service was horrible and my cell phone didnt work when it should have. It wasn't my phone carrier service either....it was definitely the ships issue. Our stateroom service was pretty good. We were pleasantly surprised by the size of our balcony.
The biggest issue was the dinner service. The food was great but service was bad. It was the worst service we have had on ANY cruise line. I don't even know what our Waiters name was because he never formally introduced himself....and we were early to dinner the first night. Including myself, there were 4 people at the table. Someones dinner was wrong every night and twice my husband didn't get his appetizer. Our assistant waiter made up for what our waiter lacked. The excuse was that people in the UK were different to serve then in the US...I am not going to complain about slow service but getting the orders wrong has nothing to do with that. Our waiter kept saying he was busy but our area was very quiet...It was not full and a whole table never even showed up. We never saw the head waiter so we could not bring up our concerns to him.
Our stop on coco cay was excellent. The other main problem was our next port of call. The night before our scheduled stop the ship was informed that we couldn't go there because there were too many ships. Really? I booked this cruise over 6 months ago and you are just now figuring this out? So instead of going to nassau the ship made arrangements to go to freeport for a half day. Nothing to rave about in freeport....A day at sea would have been better. Maybe an onboard credit would have been nice....but we got nothing! So I was a little disappointed in that...we were really looking forward to Nassau.
in conclusion, would I sail with Royal Caribbean again? Definitely yes....but I will keep my options open with other cruise lines. Moral of the story....Don't expect a perfect cruise when it is the first one....whether a new ship or new itinerary.